I shot thousands of photos at 13 Major League Baseball playoff games last month including every World Series game. But in the end, I only had one image from each game.
I was not shooting traditional images. I was producing GigaPans.
Since I made one at President Obama’s inauguration, I’ve worked on perfecting my technique for producing Gigapans at large events and have been commissioned by commercial clients like MLB.com and Bon Jovi (I’m the GigaMan?). This year, I had to figure out how to produce one in every postseason city (I needed a GigaPlan?).
It turned into one of the most demanding jobs of my career, but it was also a lot of fun.
The GigaPan hardware and software help you to shoot a series of overlapping photos and stitch them together afterwards to make a super-high resolution panoramic image. The post-processing takes a very long time because the file can be 5 gigabytes or more. Simply cropping off the edges takes 10 minutes to complete. It helps to have a fast computer (with lots of GigaRam?).
At each game, I put a Nikon D700 and 200-400 f/4 lens into the GigaPan Epic Pro and shot hundreds of photos. The biggest one (ALCS game 3: Rangers at Yankees) is made up of 364 photos (26 across by 14 down). The final file is 68,388 X 23,342 pixels or 1,596 megapixels. A normal digital camera file is about 10 megapixels.
When viewing the image, you can zoom in and see incredible detail all around the ballpark. You can see the players in the dugout, find celebrities in the crowd, and as a new feature this year, you can even tag yourself and your friends on Facebook if you were at the game (GigaFan?).
Here’s a 100% crop from the above image:
I logged 25,336 flight miles shooting games from New York to San Francisco and everywhere in between. My normal schedule involved flying into a city in the morning, covering the game that day, doing all the stitching and post-processing overnight, uploading the massive image (on hotel Internet!), sleeping for 2 hours, then going back to the airport to fly to the next city.
I usually slept on the plane, but sometimes would abruptly wake up with the fear (in a GigaPanic?) that I captured the photos incorrectly or hadn’t finished uploading the file.
When the World Series ended, I went back to San Francisco to make two final images of the celebration parade before heading home. After four weeks on the road, this project is finally in the GigaCan.
You can see all of my World Series GigaPans on the MLB website.
Sorry for all the puns. Here are a few more that I couldn’t work into the post. How many more “GigaPuns” can you invent? Bonus points if you come up with a relevant definition.
GigaVan - vehicle used to transport large format photo gear
GigaPants - outerwear worn to stay comfortable while making GigaPans
GigaBand - multi-platinum selling artists like Bon Jovi